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And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

May 4, 2012, 5:45 AM EST

Erik Bedard Getty Getty Images

Pirates 6, Cardinals 3: Erik Bedard struck out 11 men in five innings. At one point he fanned seven in a row. Overall, Pirates pitchers struck out 17 Cardinals. Pedro Alvarez went 2 for 4 with a homer. Two weeks ago he was hitting .074. Now he’s at .257 and he’s slugging over .600 on the year.

Marlins 3, Giants 2: The sweep for Miami. Pretty disastrous series for the Giants too, what with losing Sandoval and all. Not that this is anything new: As my friend Wendy Thurm put it yesterday: “2 years in a row, Marlins come to SF in May, Giants roll over dead and their best hitter gets really hurt.”

Rays 4, Mariners 3: The Rays sweep, win their 11th of 12 and now sit at 18-8, the top of the baseball world. The Mariners: a six game losing streak.

Reds 4, Cubs 3: Hit this one up yesterday. Note: Closers who implode but don’t, by virtue of a just-in-time-hook,  give up that one last hit that allows the tying run to score aren’t officially given a blown save.  They need one, so let’s call such outings “Marmols,” shall we?

Phillies 4, Braves 0: I hit this one up yesterday too. Really, I don’t mean to belittle Joe Blanton‘s three-hit shutout, but the fact is that you can’t throw an 88-pitch shutout unless you’re (a) Greg Maddux; or (b) you have some help from some mailed-in at bats from the opposition. I’ve been watching the Braves for 27 years. They are NOTORIOUS getaway day sandbaggers. I don’t think they really mean to. It’s just in the team’s friggin’ DNA.

Nationals 2, Diamondbacks 1: Ross Detwiler keeps up his good work, allowing one run over six and a third and sending his ERA down even farther below 2.00. Bryce Harper hit another double, driving in the game-winning run.  The Nats are slowly but surely pulling out of their brief funk and now get a chance to face the Phillies over the weekend and see if they can truly lay a claim on the NL East.

Indians 7, White Sox 5:  Jason Kipnis hit a triple, a homer and drove in four. Justin Masterson gets his first win of the year.

Royals 4, Yankees 3: Danny Duffy pitches well, Mike Moustakas drives in three. Jeter, by the way, went 4 for 5 and is hitting .404 on the year. But really, it’s not like anything in this game matters as much as the Rivera news. Damn.

Blue Jays 5, Angels 0: Like Joe Blanton, Brandon Morrow threw a three-hit shutout. Took him 102 pitches, not 88. I think that means something. Maybe I’m wrong.

  1. angrycorgi - May 4, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    Only 24 hours after the question was posed “Will Jered Weaver’s no-hitter help Angels turn things around?”, the Angels’ offense responds with their answer in a 3-hit blanking. Poor Mike Trout got on base twice but got removed both times by DPs.

    • proudlycanadian - May 4, 2012 at 7:16 AM

      I think that the Jays are leadin the league in DP’s. Last year, Morrow only had 1 DP behind him. He has changed his pitching style this year and is getting his share of DP’s.

      • angrycorgi - May 4, 2012 at 8:32 AM

        I think you may be right. They seem to be turning an awful lot of them this season.

  2. spudchukar - May 4, 2012 at 6:22 AM

    Hard to understand the absence of Beltran from the starting line-up, and I know it was already a “scheduled” day off, but still, after a 7 RBI Wednesday, and busting out of a slump, wasn’t his presence needed.

    I have been a proponent of resting regs, and giving the kids a chance, but the bottom of the order was atrocious. Greene recorded his usual 2 K’s, Cruz was again embarrassing (he should be in Memphis, he needs both the reps at the plate, and some more work blocking balls, cause right now he is not helping the team and needs a confidence tune-up), and Shane Robinson added nothing either.

    Holliday continues to struggle, particularly in the clutch. Perhaps it is magnified by how well the top of the order is doing, and his opportunities are many, but a few balls in the air might help.

    People may argue that the Red Birds are doing just fine, and considering the significant makeover, injuries and youth that opinion has merit, but sometimes series wins are just not good enough, particularly against teams that are struggling. We need some help at 2B and catcher, and increasingly obvious in the pen.

    Soon St. Louis will meet up with some hot teams and better competition and relying on the likes of Greene, Cruz, Romero, and Marte will catch up to them. Berkman’s return will help, but he only adds to our glut of wealth at the corner infielder/outfield position, and unless Craig can handle second base on a consistent basis, we could use a couple of roster moves.

    • paperlions - May 4, 2012 at 8:07 AM

      Yeah, Cruz has been horrible. He doesn’t look like he has a chance at the plate…and he’s like a sieve behind it. I don’t know that Bryan Anderson is the answer, but he can’t be any worse.

      As a team, the Cardinals are still vulnerable to soft-tossing guys with a variety of off-speed stuff….seems like junk ballers haver always owned them.

      • ajcardsfan - May 4, 2012 at 8:51 AM

        Anybody noticing a trend with our losses coinciding with Tyler Greene at 2B? I know he’s not the sole reason for our losing, but he isn’t helping and seems to be bad luck charm

      • spudchukar - May 4, 2012 at 10:21 AM

        Not really one to promote “bad luck charms”, more of a bad play dude. To be fair to Greene he is often accompanied by less than stellar cohorts, but you are correct AJ, he has not been contributing to wins.

        The play yesterday that typifies Greene, was his steal attempt. After walking his speed helps make a routine pick-off close at second and the Pirate first-baseman’s errant throw hit him and he is credited with a steal. All well and good, were results the only takeaway from the event. But a better team, with a better first baseman, makes the play and that is what will happen to Tyler more often than not. This isn’t little league. It is a complex game where even the brightest, most experienced players fail often. Like youth, talent can be wasted on the young, and in this game it is learn, adjust, and put yourself in positions where your natural skills can achieve success. So far that has eluded Greene.

      • spudchukar - May 4, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        PL, Anderson started the year at AAA Memphis 1 for 34. He has 3 hits now. So turning to him at this point will be hard to justify. Plus offense is supposed to be his strength. The current situation is troublesome, but I believe it will result in more serious issues if it is not resolved soon. Molina cannot catch everyday. And Matheny, of all people has to know that. Since Cruz is struggling so, his use will harder and harder to turn to. All this will “catch” up to Molina. Plus Cruz needs work, is still young and would be a better option later in the year with more playing time in Tennessee.

        So what to do? Maybe giving Anderson a couple of weeks tryout wouldn’t hurt. At least the justification for his occasional play would be an attempt to see if he can cut it, doubtful as that is. We have no one else to choose from internally, so I say we need to go outside of the organization. As I have said before a package that included Greene and Boggs/McClellan/Marte should be attractive to someone, throw in Dickson if necessary and get us a right-hand hitting second baseman and a back-up catcher, preferably a left hand hitter

  3. proudlycanadian - May 4, 2012 at 6:50 AM

    Hi Craig. Morrow threw a 3 hitter at the Angels. He threw 102 pitches and faced only 28 batters.

    • proudlycanadian - May 4, 2012 at 9:05 AM

      I am glad that Craig updated his story to include this game. Rickey Romero will not face the Angels this week; however, he is from East LA and his family attends the games when the Jays play in Anaheim. Yesterday, his mother prepared lunch for about 10 Jays in her house. Probably not enough room for the whole team. A great time was had by all.

  4. hittfamily - May 4, 2012 at 7:34 AM

    Team A: 17-8, 5-5 in their last 10 games, the only team in their division over .500
    Team B: 17-8, 5-5 in their last 10 games, the only team in their division over .500
    Team C: 18-8, 10-1 in their last 11 games, 4 teams over .500 in their division. Took 2 of 3 from Team A at Team A’s home ball park.

    A: Rangers
    B: Dodgers
    C: Rays

    Also, Matt Moore has yet to record a win. Is their any question as to who the best team in the MLB is?

    • proudlycanadian - May 4, 2012 at 7:48 AM

      The hottest team for sure, but the good old injury bug could still haunt them.

      • detroitfanatic - May 4, 2012 at 10:49 AM

        “The hottest team”.

        Ultimately, 25 games into the season, isn’t that the best team? Their pen has an ERA under 2 over the last 2 weeks. If you only have 1 loss in the second half of the season so far, and the other possible “best teams” have 5, aren’t you the #1 team by default? I don’t think it’s being hot, I think they are that good. I keep hearing about how the Rangers have 7 guys who could hit 30 HR this year. The Rays have 5 who might get there too (Longo, Pena, Scott, Zobrist, Upton) , and Joyce who will hit 25-30. Jennings is no slouch either.

        Obviously pitching puts them ahead of anyone in the AL though. Their #5 has a 4 ERA against Detroit, Texas, Minnesota, Toronto, and Seattle (#1, #2,#3 offenses). It should get a little easier for him.

        Injury bugs have hit everyone. Only the Orioles still have their closer in the AL Beast. Longo’s injury is absorbable (word?). They have the best staff they’ve ever had, the best pen they’ve ever had, and the best lineup they’ve ever had.

        The Rangers success is unsustainable. Hamilton won’t stay on the pace he’s at. Harrison showed the other day he isn’t a sub 2 ERA pitcher. Yu looks great, but most Japanese pitchers do til hitters get better video to study. They are a great team, don’t misunderstand my point, but I look at the Rays, and only Luke Scott is having a great year. They have 1 guy hitting over .300, and he’s on the DL. Zobrist is under .200. No one 7-9 is over .200. 40% of their Rotation has 1 win combined. I feel like this team hasn’t hit it’s hot streak, and they are still 10-1 over 11 games, and have the best record in baseball.

      • ltzep75 - May 4, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        Detroit:

        Ben Zobrist and BJ Upton could hit 30hrs?

        I’m too lazy to go to bb-ref but i think the most upton ever hit was like 23 or 24 hrs in a season. While he obviously could “break out” i think we’ve seen enough to know he won’t be a superstar.

        Zobrist will not hit 30 hrs. I’d wager the same amount the Duke brothers used to on this one.

      • ltzep75 - May 4, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        One note re: Upton:

        This is a contract year for him, so maybe (if you believe the contract year theory) he could improve on his prior totals. But still highly unlikely.

    • florida76 - May 4, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      It really doesn’t matter what the Rays do on the field, because the toughest challenge is finding support for MLB in the Tampa Bay market. Currently, the Rays rank a pathetic 28th out of 30 teams in attendance. And attendance has sucked since the Rays became a winner in 2008, and ownership is upset about the lack of support.

      Expect the Rays to relocate by the end of this decade. The lease isn’t exactly ironclad, the local media down there has already exposed that myth.

      • detroitfanatic - May 4, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        The lease “is” exactly iron clad. Bryce Harper Debuted at home in front of 22,000. His second game at home was in front of 14,000. Big deal that the Rays played in front of 12,000 against their long time rival, the Seattle Mariners in a mid week series.

        I really don’t understand how this pertains to how good this team ranks. If only they could have the fan support of the Cubs, then they might make the pl……errrrr nevermind. If only they could sell out the last 2 years like the Red Sox, then they might put a successful team on the…..errrrrr….nevermind.

    • angrycorgi - May 4, 2012 at 8:41 AM

      Team A: 18-8, 10-1 in their last 11 games, just eeked out two wins against a very bad Seattle team and is about to lose 2-out-of-3 to the A’s because they will not be able to score enough runs to keep up with their only serious slugging threat out for 4-8 weeks.

      A: Rays

      • phillyphreak - May 4, 2012 at 10:38 AM

        Deep.

        To be fair, Longoria is 3rd on the Rays in SLG this year. As myopic of an analysis as this stat gives, it maybe kinda says there are others who can “slug’ on the Rays.

      • detroitfanatic - May 4, 2012 at 11:02 AM

        The Rangers couldn’t outslug them. The Yankees couldn’t out slug them. The Red Sox couldn’t out slug them. Reddick would bat 8th on the Rays. Reddick batting third for the A’s doesn’t scare Price, Hellickson, and Moore.

        They’ve hit a walkoff against Mo, Verlander, and Walden. Uh oh. Grant Balfour is coming to town.

        Get real Bro.

      • florida76 - May 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        No detroitfanatic, the Rays lease is as ironclad as a piece of swiss cheese. The Tampa media has already reported on this issue years ago, and I encourage you to learn the facts. Rays ownership has already stated they won’t be around by 2027 anyway, and their options improve around 2017.

        It is a big deal the Rays still draw flies after becoming a winner since 2008, they couldn’t even draw great crowds for the final home series versus the Yankees last season. It’s best that every Rays fan rise up and put pressure to get a new stadium built, it’s the only prayer you have in keeping the team after this decade. It’s time to deal with reality.

    • foreverchipper10 - May 4, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      Wrong. Matt Moore just won on Tuesday. Get your facts straight please.

  5. blacc24 - May 4, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    All I can say is Pedro Alaverez is better than Pujols lol.

  6. If the Shoe Fits - May 4, 2012 at 7:46 AM

    1st ATH I haven’t been excited to read since Shysterball days, knowing the news about Mariano.

    Okay, now I’m going back to the fetal position.

  7. toegoat - May 4, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    @Blacc24:
    At what exactly?

  8. Lukehart80 - May 4, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    Blanton pitched a Maddux, and he nearly had company at the end of the night. Morrow was sitting at 85 pitches heading into the 9th, but then an 8-pitch battle with Erick Aybar ran his number up and he finished with 102.

    Two Madduxes in one day? I checked, and it is not common:

    http://groundballwitheyes.blogspot.com/2012/05/maddux-then-another-maddux-almost.html

    • paperlions - May 4, 2012 at 8:12 AM

      Well….Erik Aybar is a “top 10 SS” (hehe…sorry, still can’t say that without laughing), with a life time wOBA of .307 and wRC+ of 87 and 2 decent seasons under his belt (good think the locked him up for 4 years and $35M (what a great deal…for Aybar)….so you can see how such a “battle” would be unavoidable (his WAR this year is -0.6)

      • Jonny 5 - May 4, 2012 at 8:33 AM

        It’s early to be whipping WAR out on guys. Aybar averaged a 2.85 WAR a little less by fWAR over the last 4 seasons and last year he was around 4 so I’d expect him to get that up significantly over the next couple of months.

      • paperlions - May 4, 2012 at 8:42 AM

        It is, you are right. But 2 WAR is an AVERAGE MLB player (0 WAR is a AAA player), and Aybar has been slightly above average three of his 4 years as a more-or-less starting SS, a lot of that value was him just standing at SS and playing seemingly above average with the glove. The last few years his defense has been average (according to DRS or UZR) and his bat is still horrible.

        Ryan Theriot had a 4 year stretch where he put up 9 fWAR. Those aren’t the guys you should be throwing $35M at and calling it a bargain….I was mostly making fun of the idea that Aybar is a top 10 SS and signed a below market deal, which is silly.

      • Jonny 5 - May 4, 2012 at 9:29 AM

        Can’t argue with you a bit on that PL, just saying we should expect his WAR to inflate. Even though he was a top 10 SS for 2 seasons of his career and I wouldn’t describe him as a top 10 either.

  9. blacc24 - May 4, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Everything batting avg hr and RBI of course

  10. sportsdrenched.com - May 4, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Danny Duffy pitches well, Mike Moustakas drives in three.

    I hope to read this a lot over the next five years.

  11. natstowngreg - May 4, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    I think it’s fair to say that the Nats’ blip in LA had more to do with their problems winning on the Left Coast than anything else. Last night’s game showed the Nats as they are — good pitching, good defense, poor offense. Ross Detwiler continues to show the talent that got him a #6 overall pick, while the latest episode of Mr. Harper Goes to Washington featured a game-winning, opposite-field double.

    Now comes the Phillies infestation. [Note to the infestation: Bring your umbrellas. Forecast is for scattered t-storms this evening, gametime temp in the low 80s.] The Nats come off beating a playoff team 2 of 3, but tonight begins the first true test — beating the big team in their own division. The Fightins’ will see Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann. Not the kind of Nats rotation to which they are used. Oughta be most interesting.

    • Jonny 5 - May 4, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Strasburg vs Kyle Kendrick. I suspect a loss for the Phills. I also suspect no Nats are quaking in their shoes over that match up.

      • natstowngreg - May 4, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        As poorly as the Nats have been hitting, there is hope for Kendrick. Not a great deal, but some.

        Still, we were reminded by the Doc-Hanson (ahem) pitchers’ duel and Joe Blanton’s Maddux that there are no guarantees.

      • natstowngreg - May 4, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        True, though as the Doc-Hanson (ahem) pitchers’ duel and Joe Blanton’s Maddux reminded us, nothing is guaranteed.

  12. wlschneider09 - May 4, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    No twitter questions this week?

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